Burglars have been tripped up by their own sticky fingers, said police, who have linked an 18-year-old man to a series of break-ins by his fingerprints. A juvenile has also been arrested in the case.
Police said they were able to connect Eliseo Cordero III and a juvenile suspect to three different homes in Shillington that were burglarized in January. Neighbors said they are relieved.
"I'm glad they made some arrests," said Terry Vonneida, who learned about a break-in on his street last month. "I heard about it from the neighbor."
Homes in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, the 100 block of State Street and the 100 block of East Elm Street were all broken into in a similar manner, Shillington police said. The two thieves either broke or forced open a window on the first floor.
"It's scary cause I've grown, my grandparents lived here at one time, My father grew up here, and it was never really a bad area," said David Venne. "It was always peaceful."
Police said they were able to connect the three burglaries because of fingerprints.
"And some of the fingerprints, they were able to lift, matched up to this suspect," said Chief Brett Hivner, Shillington Police Dept.
Cordero's fingerprints matched those found at the homes, and when investigators approached him, he said he worked with another teenager, police said.
"They share responsibility in actually entering into the home, and it appears the juvenile was the one who actually went inside and did the burglarizing," said Hivner.
Cordero said he acted as the lookout, while his friend stole items like jewelry, electronics and cash, police said.
"Some of the property was located at the juvenile's residence on the execution of a search warrant," said Hivner.
With a rash of burglaries throughout Berks County and particularly in Shillington, people said they are glad police were able to nab this pair.
"Hopefully, it's the guys that broke into the neighbor's house next door here," said Venne. "One less thing we have to worry about."
The juvenile was arrested on Tuesday; Cordero turned himself in Wednesday, said police, adding that there are other burglaries they are still investigating, and this case is ongoing.
Police provided details of the pair's alleged break-ins in court documents:
On Jan. 9, an officer responded to a home in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. The homeowner told police she returned to find a broken kitchen window, an open back door and $400 missing. Fingerprints found at the scene, police said, belonged to Cordero.
On. Jan. 17, an officer responded to a home in the 100 block of State Street. The homeowners found a number of items, including a Sony game system and a Steve Carlton autographed baseball, to be missing. Fingerprints on a window that was forced open belonged to Cordero, police said.
On. Jan. 18, an officer responded to a home in the 100 block of East Elm Street. The homeowner's son found open closet doors and dresser drawers but no evidence of anything being taken, said police, who are still awaiting an analysis of fingerprints found on a window that was forced open.
Many of the stolen items, including the Carlton baseball, were recovered, police said. Cordero told a detective that the juvenile sold the Sony game system.
Cordero was charged with two counts each of burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $10,000 bail.